|Photo by Nikki Davis|
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s
Professional Shipwright Apprentices
Where are they now?
Building wooden boats, especially large working boats for the Chesapeake region, is a time-honored, traditional craft proudly passed down through generations. Some men and women become shipwrights to continue a treasured family tradition, while others acquire their passion. Either way, shipwrights aren’t just practicing a craft; they are perfecting an art form.
The professional shipwright apprentice program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland brings the hands-on experience necessary to transform novice builders into skilled professionals, capable of spearheading projects, interacting with the public, and building and restoring wooden boats to their glory.
The Museum’s prestigious apprenticeships are awarded to deserving applicants using a rigorous interview and selection process. Once accepted, apprentices engage in restoration and maintenance work, as well as the training to interact with the public.
Prior to working on boats at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, many apprentices study and learn the craft at schools like the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Washington, the Landing School in Maine, or the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding in California.
During their Museum apprenticeships, this knowledge is put to the test and nurtured, as the Museum’s master shipwrights share established skills and explain the nuances of transforming wood into a maritime work of art.
Upon completing an apprenticeship at the Museum’s boat yard, shipwrights move forward into successful boatbuilding careers and other related professions. Over the years, these young shipwrights spread their knowledge of Chesapeake boatbuilding techniques all over North America, sustaining and promoting an integral part of this region’s cultural heritage.
Here are a few of their stories.
Heron Scott – (2002 – 2004)Heron Scott of Haines, Alaska, was a shipwright apprentice at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) from 2002 to 2004. Prior to his apprenticeship, Scott attended the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, WA.
During his time at CBMM, Scott worked on the Museum’s seven-log crab dredger Old Point as well as several privately-owned skipjacks. Scott’s work on Old Point included replacing logs in the stern, installing the mast and sampson post step, and installing bulkheads. His work on the skipjack Somerset was a major six-month project, which included replacing the transom, rebuilding the skeg, and replacing the chine log on the Deal Island boat.
“The Maritime Museum gave me great exposure to large craft restoration, which is unique today,” reflected Scott. “The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is well-regarded and known in the Museum world. For someone like me making a career in non-profits, my apprenticeship was a great benefit.”
After his Museum apprenticeship, Scott moved to Seattle and began working as the capital projects manager and lead boatwright for the Center for Wooden Boats. During his tenure, he also served as the interim executive director for a brief time in the summer of 2010.
Scott has most recently started his own consulting business with a focus on project management of heritage boats. One of his first projects will be administering a grant with the Coastal Heritage Alliance regarding the 65’ seiner Commencement in Gig Harbor, WA.